From Manatee Springs, we
continued south toward the Everglades. We had been in contact
with a 404 mogger that lives there. He and his wife offered to
let us stay at their place, so that is what we decided to do.
Along the way, we visited a friend of a friend that lives in the
Clearwater area and did an area recon of the tourist zone.
The photos below are what we saw.
At Manatee Springs, there were
many deer. And the deer knew how to work the crowd for handouts
and were not afraid of human presence. There were a set of 4 that
came through the campground every few hours, but I could not get a shot
of the whole herd.
From Manatee, we headed south into
the Clearwater area and spent a very hot night at the KOA. We
hooked up with a Denise and Bill; we have a mutual friend Robin.
Denise met us at the KOA where we were staying and we went to the beach
to see the sights. What we saw there was a pleasant surprise from
some of the other citizens in the northern part of the state.
We went to a bar right on the
beach called "Frenchy's" and we saw this fellow working the parking lot
for handouts. That is Kathleen's leg in the background, so this
bird is quite tame.
While waiting for a table, I
decided to shoot some of the local sights. The general consensus
among the girls and I was that these were not factory equipment.
Sometimes, going to the beach can be quite a pleasure. Ah, to be young again.
Many of the patrons at the bar
were heavily inked. This fellow had plenty of real estate done,
but it was all monochrome.
There were plenty of folks on the
beach. It was hot, really hot. All the locals stated that
it was "unseasonal" but it was still hot. And, we do not have a/c
in the camper, so the night was going to be quite uncomfortable.
In the end, Denise and Bill invited us to stay at their place, so we
happily accepted. They have a/c in their house.
It took about 1/2 hour to get seated, but we did get to sit on the outside deck. The place was packed.
These folks were in some kind of dance group.
Plenty of folks on the
beach. Did I mention it was HOT?
And speaking of hot, Kathleen and
Denise, our hostess.
Neon green was an interesting
Many folks were strolling the beach.
The folks down near the beach seem
to be much more fit than the people we encountered inland.
The dance group started
practicing. Quite interesting to watch, needless to say.
No comment needed.
A photo of Frenchy's beach bar where we ate lunch.
We ate dinner with Denise and then
went back to her place to crash. Next morning, she said she would
take us island hopping with her buddies in their boat. As we were
preparing to load up, I spotted this heron on their sea wall.
Bill and Denise have a place that
has dock in their backyard. The place is on the intercoastal
waterway and provides easy access to beach areas via their boat.
Above Denise and Kathleen load supplies for the day's trip. It
was hot again, so we brought plenty of water, beer and ice. Once
we boat was loaded and lowered into the water, we were off.
On our way out to the main
intercoastal passage, we passed plenty of nice hardware. This
fellow has PLENTY of horsepower to run his boat.
There were many shacks on the
Some of these places were primary
residences, others were second homes.
The intercoastal has many
drawbridges and this one was opening for the boat coming through on the
We took the boat to a bar and had
a few drinks. After several rum runners, Kathleen became overrun
From my perch at the bar, I
spotted this white heron. Notice the head feathers.
From Clearwater, we headed over to
Tampa to hook up with a fellow mogger Jack Miles to have lunch on the
beach. After lunch, he needed to check out the 1300. Above
Kathleen shot us doing the walk around.
From Tampa, we continued south
along I-75 and we encountered this awesome bridge. Note how steep
the approaches are. I had to gear down to make it over.
The geometry of the support cables
made an interesting sight.
We continued south to Sarasota and
did some chores in town. After getting the necessities (ice,
beer, diesel) we went to the state park in Osprey. The spot we
had was right on the bayou. It was still quite hot, uncomfortably
so, but all things fall to sufficient beer. The shot above was
taken off the back porch of the truck.
The place was overrun by these funky, furry caterpillars.
From Osprey, we headed south to the everglades to meet another unimogger. On the way to his ranch, we spotted this turtle crossing the road. He would have been hit, so we stopped and moved him to the side of the road. He would not come out of his shell, so the photo above is the best I could do.Many thanks to Bill and Denise for hosting us at their house for 2 nights. The a/c was a life saver. The Clearwater Beach area was quite nice but both touristy and pricey. Those issues notwithstanding, we saw some interesting sights and had a great time. Our tour on the intercoastal was very nice and the water was ideal.
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Copyright Bill Caid 2010, all rights reserved.
For your enjoyment only, not for commercial use.